Saturday, August 02, 2014
TimeformUS Analyst Mike Beer
TimeformUS Analysis for Saratoga Racing on Sunday Aug 3
Race 1: 2yos kick off the Pick 5, and are led by the Pletcher pair of #3 Kinsley and #5 Feathered, both of whom brought $300k at auction. Feathered was recently purchased, at OBS March, after blitzing a furlong in 10 seconds flat. Since Todd tends to send them out ready, we'll expect them both to perform, but will give preference to Feathered. #1 Harbouring is a half-sister to the fast stakes-winning sprinter Star Harbour, who has won 8 times in his career while earning over $400k. Her trainer is among the best in the game, but he tends not to have them cranked up right away.
Race 2: #4 Summer Breezing has never been this short, but he is fast and has been at his best sprinting for Christophe Clement. We think this shorter trip may really suit his speedy style, and he is racing at the right level.
#3 Escapist didn't have his best chance here last week when unable to get forward position, ultimately having to steady hard on the backstretch. Has dangerous speed and is eligible to bounce back. #7 Partly Mocha is a rock-solid turf sprinter at anywhere from 5.5 to 7 furlongs and is a major threat to the top two, especially if they hook up early.
Race 3: Short field of six older maidens entered here, including another Pletcher duo. Since Todd isn't nearly as potent with his older first-time starters at Saratoga as he is with his 2yos (he's 0 for his last 16 with older runners), we'll go to the logical horse to beat in #4 Flat Jack. Flat Jack earned a solid 97 TimeformUS Speed Figure for his game runner-up effort last out, and he is going to be very tough to beat if able to come right back with a similar effort.
Race 4: Engaging rivalry between #6 Lubash and #7 Kharafa may continue in this stakes-quality allowance for NY-breds. Kharafa also holds an entry into the Lure stakes on Saturday, so we may not see him in this spot, but he is perhaps the horse to beat if he decides to await this spot. Either way, Lubash will be difficult to down after extricating himself from some stretch traffic last time and then rolling over the likes of #2 Notacatbutallama and #10 Barrel of Love.
Race 5: Not going to be easy to take a stand against #3 South Sound, who holds all of the fast races for a sharp trainer and appears to be a likely single for many in this Pick 5.
For a backup, #7 Little Gidding is lightly raced and dropping in class, and she has won her only start vs. claiming company to date. #5 Mononoke has speed, and has run a couple of recent figures that put her within hailing distance of South Sound, but if she's a main contender, that just makes the favorite's position that much stronger.
Race 6: Wide-open $50k claimer on the grass is expected to feature a fast pace, and there is no shortage of interesting closers to choose from. #7 Redact was unable to threaten front-running Golden Rifle when making his stateside debut off the layoff, but raced on gamely in a performance that he can certainly build upon here. He also has the advantage of being a new face to this crew. We're interested (as usual) in #6 Unbridled Logic, as he has been badly compromised by slow paces recently, and never more so than last time, when winner Glowing Ember walked on an uncontested lead. #5 Dream Man will also benefit from contested fractions, and he's getting the biggest class drop of all in this field.
Race 7: Bill Mott tends not to have his babies cranked up first time out, but they're generally better second time, and #1 Militsa flashed speed in a strong field in her debut. #3 No Shanks debuts for a very sharp trainer, and she is a half to 9-time winner Shankopotomus, who was a winner here earlier in the meet. #4 Ex Wives is a half to the fast Deadly Dealer, who earned over $300k on the track and was best sprinting on dirt. #6 Condo Commando is from a dam who was a multiple Grade 2 winner on the track and whose first three foals are all winners.
Race 8: #3 Where's Danny has been in career-best form since coming back to grass back in April, and he ran a deceptively good race while trying to come wide into a slow pace in a super-tough $50k claimer here opening weekend.
#8 Cheyenne Nation is the horse to beat as he drops in class, but he's vulnerable based upon his 2014 form to this point. #10 Cage Fighter is the ML favorite on the class drop for connections that look to win races up here, and he was compromised when trying to close into a slow pace last time.
Race 9: Wide-open running of the Waya offers an opportunity to price hunt. With that in mind, #6 Levanto was a two-time winner over 1 1/2 miles in Ireland, and rated as a promising horse by Timeform over there despite bombing on more than one occasion. Went to the lead and stopped in her stateside debut, but the margin is somewhat deceiving with her rider wrapping up approaching the stretch, and it's noteworthy that she has managed to rebound from poor efforts in the past. #7 Fitful Skies and #8 Inimitable Romanee are the horses to beat, as they are most accomplished to this point and have no distance concerns. #13 Cat's Claw must draw in, but she has relished distance and is highly progressive.
Race 10: No one to trust in maiden claiming finale, so we will look to a new face in #8 Town Leader. Clement excels with runners debuting in turf routes (100 rating), and based on the form showing from her competition, she needn't be that much to contend. #5 Rachel's Temper returns for her 3yo debut with a needed class drop. She did her best in some tougher spots last year, but simply wasn't good enough, and this class drop should suit her. #7 Costenia drops for Pletcher, and she has some speed, but there is no shortage of that in this field. #2 Shaikha enters off of the best last race, but is piling up the chances.